Café 422 Marks 80 Years in Warren
WARREN, Ohio – When Serdar Dede and his brother, Erdel, bought Café 422 in 2005, they knew they were taking over a landmark.
So they did everything they could to maintain its stature in the Mahoning Valley restaurant scene, and ensure its future.
With a “considerable” financial investment, they completely renovated both dining rooms, making the seating more spacious. They did the same to the lounge and banquet rooms, added a patio for outdoor dining, installed new windows to brighten the interior and modernized the exterior.
On Nov. 2, the restaurant at 4422 Youngstown Road SE in Warren marked its 80th anniversary with a gala party. The event included four food stations – a raw bar, carving station, gourmet pasta bar and flambé dessert buffet – plus an open bar and dancing with the Grand Avenue Band.
While the Dede brothers aim to grow their business, they also take seriously their role of pleasing their many longtime customers. Menu staples maintain the restaurant’s historical ties, as do photos on the wall that were taken during the restaurant’s earliest days.
Café 422 was founded in 1939 by friends Guerino Abruzzi and Orazio Rossi and was an immediate success.
Serdar is quick to acknowledge that all of the previous owners did a great job, noting that it’s not easy for a restaurant to stay in business for 80 years.
“It’s difficult, especially the way the economy has been,” he says. “There have been a lot of positives, but we have lost GM and Delphi Packard, and there is still a lot of competition, and more chains now.”
Café 422’s core of repeat customers remains a strength.
“Local people know good food and support local restaurants,” says Erdal.
“It’s nice to have a relationship with the people,” says Serdar. “I know most of the customers that come through the door. Some are here every week or even every day.”
The same goes for the staff.
Head chef Mourad Nessai has been working with the Dedes since they purchased the restaurant, and many staff members have been there even longer, including kitchen worker Marcia Hubbard, who started in 1999.
Café 422 has long been known for its bone-in ribeye steak, cut in-house; and its marinated charred rack of lamb with Italian seasoning.
Other house specialties include the broiled seafood platter, which includes lobster tail, shrimp, scallops and orange roughy; pasta dishes with the restaurant’s signature tomato sauce; bread that is baked fresh daily; and of course, hot peppers in oil, a favorite that has been on the menu for many decades.
Café 422 features an extensive wine selection and a spacious lounge area with about 20 seats around the bar and 30 more at tables. Original art, acquired by Serdar, hangs on the wall.
In addition to the Warren location, the Dedes also own and operate a second Café 422 in Boardman at 8586 South Ave.
Each restaurant has 10,000 square feet and employs between 30 and 40 people. The Warren location has two banquet rooms that can be opened into one large area with a capacity of about 150. The Boardman site, which opened seven years ago and also was completely renovated at the time, has a similar-sized banquet room.
Both restaurants have ample parking, as they sit on lots of close to three acres, says Serdar.
The Warren Café 422, with its Italianate architecture, is a highly visible structure on busy U.S. Route 422, near Eastwood Mall.
The Boardman location, in the growing southern half of the township, has provided an introduction to the Café 422 menu to residents of Mahoning County, says Serdar.
For a peek at the menu, go to Cafe422.com.
Pictured: Cafe 422 owner Serdar Dede stands in the kitchen of the Warren restaurant with loaves of its homemade bread, appetizers and hot peppers in oil.
Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.